NBA Draft: Many Familiar Names, but No Sure Things
The NBA draft is always full of suprises but one constant remains:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are picking first again.
Since LeBron James left for South Beach three years ago, the Cavs have picked first, fourth, and now first again. This season, most of the talk has Kentucky's Nerlens Noel going first, but Cleveland has been considering another center, Maryland's Alex Len -- and if he and his girlfriend seal the deal, they could be considering a can't-miss lottery pick 19 years later -- or guard Ben McLemore from Kansas.
Orlando looks like they will have their pick of guards, either Victor Oladipo from Indiana or McLemore. Otto Porter, a freshman from Georgetown, could go Number Three to Washington. Porter had a great year for the Hoyas, averaging 16.2 points per game along with seven rebounds and would appear be a strong addition as the Wizards continue to rebuild. Charlotte is next, and sooner or later, one would think Michael Jordan will finally put a decent team together. Michael Kidd Gilchrist was a good start last year.
Phoenix has the fifth pick, and once you get here, anything can happen. The Suns would like to add Oladipo or McLemore as Jeff Hornacek begins his head coaching career. New Orleans is next, and if the top five are gone, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Trey Burke from Michigan, and the first senior mentioned, Lehigh's CJ McCollum, could wind up with the Pelicans. Sacramento and Detroit, picking seventh and eighth respectively, will also be in the running for these three players.
Other big-name players who should be called to the podium in the first round are Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, whose offensive skill set development has been eye-popping; Indiana's Cody Zeller, who may go to Portland or Philadelphia; Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams; and Miami's Shane Larkin. Williams has dropped off slightly according to some draft experts, while Larkin will be a good fit for a team looking for a point guard, maybe in New York with the Knicks.
Another young star in college, Shabazz Muhammad from UCLA, has seen his stock drop recently but could help a team in the middle of the first round.
At the bottom of the first round, many teams are simply hoping someone falls down to them or they get someone who suprises everyone, which is a very real scenario given the overall perspective of this year's crop. Last season, the Boston Celtics got lucky with Jared Sullinger, who dropped to Pick 21 because of a back injury. It wound up costing him half the season after flaring up in January, but Boston feels his back is now better than ever, and he will be a mainstay in the Celtics' rebuilding process.
The speculation ends and the fun begins tonight at 7.30pm edt on ESPN.